Palmer’s focus in Currumbin, narrowly held by 1.2 per cent by the LNP’s Laura Gerber following the by-election in March, comes as Dr Richard Stuckey – the husband of disgruntled former Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey and who is now standing as an independent in the seat – revealed he will preference Labor.
Richard Stuckey has preferenced Labor’s candidate Kaylee Campradt second and Gerber sixth in the field of eight candidates.
The Palmer-Stuckey spousal pincer movement may make it difficult for the LNP to hold the seat, with those vehemently against the border closures potentially moving to Palmer’s United Australia Party while those who personally supported Jann Stuckey, who held Currumbin for 16 years, potentially flowing to her husband.
The preference deal is yet another Stuckey skewer to the LNP after Jann Stuckey sensationally resigned as MP then quit the party in March, revealing an ongoing battle with depression and that she had been suffering from “bullying, personal attacks and insults.”
She said she also could not forgive the party for parachuting in Gerber to stand in the March by-election, against what she claimed were the wishes of local branch members who felt “deceived, treated with disrespect, and taken for granted,” triggering both her and Richard’s resignation from the LNP.
Palmer, whose challenge over the constitutionality of the West Australian hard border closure will be heard in the High Court on November 3, said the LNP softened its border stance prematurely, leaving the party open to a kick over the issue, especially on the Gold Coast.
“I think maybe politicians act out of fear and they fear the numbers,” Palmer said.
“This sort of health issue is way beyond the understanding of most politicians and they just blindly follow the bureaucracy regardless of what the real issues are.
“Most LNP supporters are people in business and they’ve got to employ people and they know the devastation that’s happened here.”
Speaking at a southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce candidate’s forum at Currumbin this morning, Anna Palmer, who has also been freshly appointed as UAP deputy leader, said her candidacy shone a laser beam on Queensland’s COVID border closure and the crippling impact she said it had on business.
“If I am elected, I can bring more attention to this electorate,” she said.
“As we saw, just the announcement of my standing as a candidate brought here the Prime Minister of Australia and the Premier.”
After famously spending more than $80m on advertising and donations for the 2019 federal election, Clive Palmer said his United Australia Party was running 55 candidates across Queensland. He is reportedly estimated to be spending about $8 million to $10 million on the Queensland state election.
With spending this state election restricted under the state’s new electoral regulations, UAP Gold Coast candidates would focus on Labor’s border closure, Palmer said.
The LNP hold all but one electorate on the Gold Coast, with three including Bonney, Burleigh and now Currumbin potentially considered at risk for the LNP, while Labor would need to fight hard to retain Gaven.
“I think we’ve got a lot of support on the Gold Coast,” Palmer said.
“We’ve got enough spending to get our message out and all of the Gold Coast candidates have pooled their budgets so we can go after the issues that affect the local community.
“They need a reminder sometimes what the community’s needs are. We are saying this is an issue that’s important to the community.”
Palmer said Currumbin would be a prime target, as he attacked Labor’s border closure.
“This (Currumbin) is the key one but a lot of the major seats will be in the swing and we think we can make a real difference here,” Palmer said.
“I think my wife Anna would make a good member of parliament. She’s sold me.”